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his rogueries? Are his creditors aware,
when they are so loud in their complaints
against him, that in many cases his numerous
failures spring out of the one original insolvency;
because he was weak and considerate
enough to grant fraudulent preferences and
renew old debts? Are they aware that they
have been supplying him with goods and
money, for many years, at an enormous
profit and interest that act as an insurance
against risk, and make ten shillings in the
pound a remunerative dividend? I am afraid
not. He may walk about in a leaky shoe
and a battered hat, but he is always assumed
to have a snug competency put on one side in
a quiet way. If he is really fraudulent, the
law has provided for his punishment in a
very peculiar manner. He goes before a
Bankruptcy Commissioner with a balance-
sheet, and a variety of accounts which, as far
as totals are concerned, are made to agree with
each other, with wonderful accuracy, and the
said Commissioner, knowing nothing of
figures, and ascertaining from the official
assignee, that he has not been too fraudulent
to provide for the expenses of the court, does
not see any good that can arise to the estate
from further delay, and grants a common
certificate or licence to trade, as a matter of
course. If, on the other hand, he is not
fraudulent but unfortunate, and flies to the
sanctuary of the court, under the pressure of
unavoidable loss and misfortune, having
allowed the commercial whirlwind to overtake
him before providing payment for the
shelter as the act directs, he will find surly
officials, a severe Draconian judge, and, in all
probability, a suspension of certificate. Woe
upon him, if at any time under the influence
of pressure, a sense of honour, or for increased
facilities of trade, he has given what the law
calls a fraudulent preference; he will then
find to his cost how much more culpable it is
in the eye of justice to give than to receive.
He will suffer for his ill-advised, though
well-intentioned act, while the receiver of the
benefitthe fraudulent creditorwill walk
away respected and unscathed in all the
immaculate invulnerability of twenty shillings
in the pound. The fraudulent creditor is a
person that does not come so prominently
before us; he does not stink in the nostrils
of commerce, for his cheques are always paid,
and he never had a bill sent back in his life.
He is an oily man, who has made many bad
debts during his commercial life, and who
always seems to extract nourislmient from
them. He has generally been very badly
treated by the fraudulent debtor, but while
the latter has scarcely a bed to lie down upon,
the fraudulent creditor manages to keep a good
balance at his banker's. He seldom attends,
and will never take the chair at a meeting of
creditors. When an arrangement is proposed,
he always declines, at present, to come in.
He has scruples and objections, and he
takes time to consider. He likes to be
treated with individually. God forbid,
that he should be the means of carrying
the affair to the Bankruptcy Court, and
injuring others; but he does not think that
there has been a fair statement rendered,
and he would rather lose the whole of his
debtill as he can afford itthan accept a
dividend less than the estate ought to pay.
He holds out firmly, and when others get
ten shillings, he gets fifteen; when others get
fifteen, he gets twenty. Failing this, he stands
over until the debtor begins trade again,
and then he advances his claim upon the new
estate, to the injury of the new creditors. He
is one of the most obstructive and dishonest
men in trade, and yet who would refuse
his acceptance for five thousand pounds? It
may be that the twenty shillings in the pound,
with which the bill will be paid, will be very
dirty shillingsshillings that ought to have
been in the pockets of other people, but they
fulfil the commercial requirements as to
weight, and the code of trading morality
exacts no other condition.

If I have shocked the political economist
by exhibiting any irreverence for the laws
which regulate the operations of commerce,
the theory of trade, exchange, markets,
supply and demand, I humbly apologise.
My purpose was not to question the dogmas
of economical science, but to put my finger
upon some of the moral blots in commerce,
and to ask that those who are always crying
out aloud for purification, should not strain
at a bankrupt gnat, and swallow a felonious


I go forth betimes next morning to note
the general bearings of the town: first
breakfasting after the Dutch manner. This
breakfasting after the Dutch manner is a
curious process. I being led into the grand
eating-room,—plainly thought much of in the
Grey-headed Nobleman's family, but still of
the old reformatory proportionsthe matériel,
machinery and appliances are brought
in. First, there is introduced an ingeniously
contrived furnace, filled with live charcoal,
set down on the floor by me with great
pomp and circumstance. Next makes entry
a second coolie with prodigious kettle, to be
fitted onto the ingeniously contrived furnace,
filled with live charcoal, and set down on the
floor by me with great pomp and circumstance.
Reappear then, original coolie with
groaning tray, tea-cups and tea-pot,
hereafter to be filled from the prodigious kettle,
fitted on to the ingeniously contrived furnace
of live charcoal, set down on the floor by me
with great pomp and circumstance. Coolie
stirs up the furnace briskly and asks, will I
have flesch? Flesch, by all means. And
forthwith is set down a saucer of what, at
first sight, I take to be mahogany shavings,
but which, I am afterwards informed, is one